With benefits from the coronavirus stimulus package expected to expire at the end of the year, President-elect Joe Biden said on Friday that he was confident that there would be cross-party agreement on a new package.
The Republicans and Democrats had been unable to agree on details of a fifth coronavirus-relief bill, causing discussions to falter for weeks. The Democrats had pushed through a bill that would have cost about $2 trillion. The Republicans wanted a bill with a smaller price range of about $500 billion.
A compromise bill for about 900 billion dollars was introduced on Tuesday by the legislators on both sides. During his remarks on the U.S. economy on Friday, Biden said he believed there was enough support on both sides for a bipartisan agreement to boost the economy.
“All I can say is that I am confident that there are sufficient Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate, along with significant votes in the House of Representatives, to put together a serious package that will not throw us off track here and provide the kind of resources that are needed immediately,” Biden said.
“It will not satisfy everyone,” Biden continued. “But the option is, if you insist on everything, you’ll probably get nothing on either side. And so I think they’re on their way to being able to put together a package that meets the immediate basic needs that we have.
Biden warned that even if a new package is passed, it would only serve as a “down payment” and another package would be needed in 2021. “This is not the end of the agreement,” Biden said.
According to a report released on Friday by the US Department of Labor, the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent in November, with 245,000 jobs added. This figure is lower than the October report, which showed that 610,000 jobs had been added. 10.7 million Americans reported being unemployed in November.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement on Tuesday that they hoped Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would break the stalemate in discussions on an aid package.
“Given the urgency of meeting the needs of the American people and the hope that the vaccine is available,” the statement said, “it is time for Leader McConnell to sit down with the Democrats to finally begin a genuine, non-partisan effort to meet the needs of the country.
Washington Newsday turned to Schumer’s office for further comments.
Although McConnell did not endorse the bipartisan plan, he said on Thursday that a compromise may be within reach. “We know where we agree,” McConnell said during a speech to the Senate. “We can do this. Let me say it again. We can do this. And we have to do it.”
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would sign a new economic aid package if you cross his desk by the end of December. “I want that to happen, and I believe they are very close to an agreement,” Trump said.